Myths and Reality of “Lone Wolf” Terrorism in the Context of Islamist Extremism

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Abstract


The article analyzes the peculiarities of the terrorism of “lone actors”, acting under the influence of militant Islamist ideology. Although the potential of lone actors does not look so impressive compared to large terrorist groups, “lone wolves” terrorists are not becoming less dangerous. The danger of the phenomenon is due to the particular difficulty of preventing terrorist acts carried out by lone terrorists. At the same time, existing terrorist groups (e.g. ISIS), on the one hand, use the actions of lone terrorists for their propaganda purposes, and, on the other, try to inspire potential like-minded people to act alone. Thus, the actions of lone terrorists are included in the wider context of the extremist movement (“global jihad”). The article concludes that countering this threat is not only necessary, but possible. But this struggle requires both flexibility and responsibility.


About the authors

Andrei Eduardovich Yashlavskii

Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences

Author for correspondence.
Email: dosier@mail.ru
Moscow, Russian Federation

PhD in Politics, Senior Researcher

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